A few days ago, I joined a pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate, in downtown Toronto, to protest against Israel's recent military operations in Palestine. In effect, the protest would be more accurately termed anti-Israeli. The passionate crowd chanted slogans like: Sharon (and) Hitler are the same, (the) only difference is the name; and, Israel is a terrorist state.
The issue of suicide bombings against Israelis dominated the side discussions --how legitimate are they.
The debate starts with a logical rhetorical question: Aren't suicide bombings targeting the Israeli occupation soldiers perfectly legitimate? Even various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection "by all available means including armed struggle" (1)
But where was the international community all along --doing nothing more than issuing toothless ambiguous resolutions?
But, it gets murky and you soon discover that you are walking down a slippery slope. For example, who are the "occupation soldiers," exactly? Are they the ones momentarily operating inside the "occupied territories"? What happens when they are on a leave, for example, and are bombed, say, in Haifa? Does that make them an unlawful target?
What about soldiers who have at one point served in the "occupied territories" but are now serving in other parts of historic Palestine --are they still a legitimate target?
What about Israeli soldiers who will at a future point serve in the "occupied territories"? Aren't all Israeli soldiers would-be and could-be occupation forces?
What about the willing Israeli young men and women who want to join the Israeli occupation army?
How about the Israeli parents and citizenry who encourage their children to join the occupation army and/or support the sustainment of the military occupation (and the Zionist concept of "Eretz Israel")? (A recent poll finds that about 75% of Israelis support ethnic cleansing ("transfer") of Palestinians.)
You can see where this is going.
And, what exactly are the "occupied territories"? What about the other "occupied territories," since 1948?
Conventional wisdom dictates that killing of innocent civilians is a crime, but some Palestinians do not consider Israelis as innocent civilians. Not only because Israeli public refuses reparation and repatriation of dispossessed Palestinians, but also because, they argue, all of Palestine is, in essence, confiscated Palestinian land --as professed by ex-Israeli minister of defense and Haganah terrorist group leader Moshe Dayan: "there is not one single place built in this country (Israel) that did not have a former Arab population". (2)
Incidentally, how was Israel created? Terrorism par excellence! About five hundred Palestinian villages were raided, razed and systematically depopulated ("cleansed") by the Irgun, Stern and Haganah terror gangs who indiscriminately massacred its Palestinian inhabitants.
Today's civilized nations decry Palestinian "terrorism" demanding a more civilized form of resistance (or total subjugation?) --supposedly on par with Israel's top-notch weaponry; in effect, expecting Palestinians to hold the higher moral ground.
Paradoxically, Israel, if it really wanted, could perform a unilateral withdrawal, out of the Palestinian territories, and setup real borders between itself and Palestine, but that would be caving in to terrorism, Israelis says.
The good news is that after that heated side debate, the consensus amongst the debaters, was that if Israelis would allow reparation and repatriation of Palestinians, Palestinians will rather live alongside Jews as equals, as it were the case before Zionist Jews opted for a Zionist state on Palestine.
(1) UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154
(2)"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don't blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu'a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." [ Moshe Dayan, in Haifa, quoted by Ha'aretz, April, 4 1969.]
Mr. Baha Abushaqra is a Canadian-based media activist of Palestinian origin who believes in peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs under one democratic state in the Holy Land. His articles/letters are posted at www.mideastjournal.com